Scattered thoughts

Theresa May is visiting with President Trump and congressional leaders in Philadelphia this morning, apparently planning to renew the US/UK special relationship and hoping for a Brexit-related preliminary promise of a bilateral trade agreement.

I’m writing from Amtrak on my way to Washington for the March for Life tomorrow and meetings over the next few days. The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network board convenes for its first quarter meeting where we’ll set the annual budget and talk through significant strategic and operational items. It should be a good and productive few days.

A political take from Addison Del Mastro, who writes:

This election’s other great issue, free trade, plays out in much the same way, as it pits very specific economic and cultural losses against broad societal benefits. As with boosters of mass immigration and diversity, free trade’s advocates have long resisted coming clean about the costs. National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson has dismissed the fading culture of Middle America as nothing more than “sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns” and “cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap.”

Williamson is not wrong, in a sense; the midcentury industrial economy was destined to be supplanted, and with it the way of life that rested upon it. The loss is inevitable, but nonetheless real. Some recognition that it is taking place would go a long way toward ameliorating the pain. It is one thing to be frank that society is not cast in stone, that things change, and that we are often the better for it in the long run. It is quite another thing to claim that nothing is being lost at all, and that if you believe otherwise, you are a racist, a bigot, or “deplorable.”

Langley Park will never again be a Southern Levittown, nor will most of the towns in America like it. Those economic and social arrangements have, largely by structural forces beyond the control of politics, been made obsolete. And they may well, in the grand economic and social picture, be destined to fade away. But they also deserve an elegy.

The strange thing about building the future? It’s got a good bit of the past wrapped up in it, refreshing it for the next generation. Throwing too much out too quickly is often arrogance.

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